21 Jan The Beauty of Cancer
Can Cancer Be Beautiful?
It seems like a lifetime ago, but really it’s only been 6 years. That was when Klink (my husband) was diagnosed for the second time with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He had been in remission for 4 years, almost to the day, when it returned —throwing our lives into another tailspin. If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of a moment like this then you understand how surreal it all is.
Being the spouse of someone diagnosed with Cancer can touch us in many different ways. It can be hard and cold —violently ripping our belief systems apart, abusing us with it’s repetitive behavior and leaving us feeling beaten, battered and worn. Our experience isn’t the illness —but how the illness now affects every part of our life and our relationships.
Everything is different.
Like a wild horse being broken, it can exhaust us in a way we’ve never thought possible, taking what’s left of our strength and crushing it with it’s strong force —sucking what seems like the very last breath out of our lungs, leaving us suffocating and gasping for air.
But it can also be tender and gracious and purifying. Giving back to us much more than it stole.
My husband Klink was treated for almost 3 years before being told he had 6 months left to live, and then 6 months after they quit giving him chemo —he went into remission. His body was beaten, abused and weak but his mind was strong. 3 months later he contracted Spinal Meningitis (bacterial) and I was told once again he wouldn’t make it, this time it was only 24 hours to live but he once again, proved them wrong.
My experience with my husbands Cancer has been my biggest teacher, the most beautiful teacher I’ve ever had. I am certain I didn’t understand at the time the impact it was having on me, but as time went on I started to see things differently than I had before. Cancer significantly changed my life and along with it gave me precious gifts that I think about and work on daily.
GIFT #1 —Finding My Voice
I have learned how to ask questions and speak up when I don’t understand something, feel something is wrong, or if I am not being treated properly with a doctor, business colleague, friend or family member.
GIFT #2 —Letting Go of Control
I have learned that I cannot control any circumstance, situation or person — only change how I react and respond. I had to learn I was not in charge of my husbands health, diet or lifestyle choices and to honor his choices as I would want him to honor mine. I now try to apply that with everyone I meet.
GIFT #3 —Learning to Allow
I’ve become more open and vulnerable, allowing myself to experience and accept life’s beauty and rawness as part of my growth. It has helped me to become very “real” with who I am and who I strive to be.
GIFT #4 —Learning to Accept
I’ve learned not to judge others and accept them for who they are –individuals trying to figure out this crazy, beautiful life, just like I am. I try to remind myself that everyone has their own journey and it’s none of my business how they choose to walk theirs. I only need to focus on my own path.
GIFT #5 —Learning to Forgive
Mostly of myself. I’ve learned that I can’t forgive others if I don’t forgive myself first.
GIFT #6 —To Focus On What I Want
I’ve learned that if I’m not clear about my choices, I’ll get too many things I don’t want coming my way. I’m much more specific about what I want for my life and I try to make conscious choices.
GIFT #7 —All Thoughts Have Power
It feels much better to think about something good, than to think about something bad. I control or eliminate the amount of negative media I see and surround myself with good-feeling energy whenever I can.
GIFT #8 —All Words Have Power
It feels much nicer to say nice things to another person —and to ourselves. Negative and hurtful words create an imbalance within ourselves and cause discord. Discord creates dis-ease.
Gift #9 —All Feelings Have Power
When I feel good, I attract good to me. When I feel bad, I attract bad to me. Simple. And I always make sure I’m in a “good-feeling” mood before making any important decisions.
GIFT #10 —I Am Powerful
I have the power to choose, each and every day how I want to live and experience life. I’ve learned to live my life on my terms and not of what’s expected of me by others.
My experience started off as a long, painful journey but in the end it turned into an enlightened one. A beautiful one.
Have you or a loved one experienced cancer or an illness that impacted your life in a positive way?
Has it changed who you are and how you live your life?
We all heal differently. I created AHNESTI Professional Haircare, a botanically based, healthy, hair care line to make a difference for others. The gorgeous images I’ve posted here are by photographer Kirsty Mitchell who created a visually stunning Wonderland in honor of her late mother Maureen. These photographs were created by her in the years after she lost her mother to Brain cancer to ‘remind others of their forgotten magic and beauty’. Her story of healing is inspiring to me, and hopefully to you as well.
I know it’s not always easy to share such private moments but I would love to hear how you’ve changed your life in a profound and positive way or if you’ve left your mark somehow because of your experience. Please leave your comments and share your journey with us!